Monday, August 31, 2009

The Akathist Hymn


The Creator displayed a new creation to us who had come from Him: He came forth from a womb that had received no seed, and He left it intact as it had been, so that at the sight of this marvel, we would sing to her and cry out:

Hail, O Blossom of Incorruption!
Hail, O Crown of Self-mastery!
Hail, O you who shone forth as a Sign of Resurrection!
Hail, O you who displayed the Life of Angels!
Hail, Fruitful Tree from whom believers feed!
Hail, Shady Glen where many are sheltered!
Hail, O you who have born the Guide of the Lost!
Hail, Source of Life to the captives' Release!
Hail, O you who unsettled even the Just Judge!
Hail, Indulgence of many who have fallen!
Hail, O Stole for those who lack freedom to speak!
Hail, O Tenderness who exceed all desire!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!


Now that we have seen this strange birth, let us estrange ourselves from the world and turn our minds to heaven: indeed, it is for this that the God Most High appeared on earth as a lowly man, desiring to draw up to heaven those who cry out to Him: "Alleluia!"

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!


While fully present amid those below, the uncircumscribed Word was in no way absent from those above: for what happened was a divine condescension, and not a moving from one place to another: and it was a birth from a Virgin inspired by God, who heard these words:

Hail, O Space of the Spaceless God!
Hail, O Gate of the Sublime Mystery!
Hail, O Message unsure to men without faith!
Hail, O Glory most certain to those who believe!
Hail, O Sacred Chariot of the One above the Cherubim!
Hail, Perfect Dwelling of the One above the Seraphim!
Hail, O you who reconciled opposites!
Hail, O you who combined maidenhood and motherhood!
Hail, O you through whom Paradise was opened!
Hail, O Key to the Kingdom of Christ!
Hail, O Hope for the Ages of Bliss!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!


The whole order of the Angels marveled at the great work of your becoming a man: for they saw the One Inaccessible as God become a Man accessible to all, living with us and hearing us cry out: "Alleluia!"

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

The Least of My Brethren

May all we do, we do for the Greater Glory of God. Jesus answers the question "who are my neighbors?" Please pause from your daily lives to think about those who live in abject poverty. Pause for a moment and look into your heart, there Christ resides. Did you have breakfast today, or lunch? Maybe something special for dinner tonight? There are human beings who breath the same air we do, feel the warmth of the same sun, and the cool wet rains that we feel, and sleep under the same stars that we do. These fellow human beings created in the image of God, our loving Father, won't eat today. There bellies will cry out with hunger. Donations are down throughout the world due to global recession. If you feel it in your heart won't you please click on one of the links that follows and help out someone who is less fortunate than you and I are.

Food For The Poor - Christian Foundation for Children and Aging - And would you consider taking on the responsibility of sponsoring somebody creating a positive difference in the life of a child in poverty Children International - Everything we possess comes from the generosity of God, who created us and gifted us with our life. No one's generosity can exceed that of God. Help someone eat today. God Bless.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Martyrdom of John the Baptist

Blessed be the Lord,
The God of Israel;
He has come to His people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
Born of the house of His servant David.

Through His holy prophets He promised of old
That He would save us from our enemies,
From the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our fathers
And to remember His holy Covenant.

This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham:
To set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship Him without fear,
Holy and righteous in His sight
All the days of our life.

You, My child shall be called
The prophet of the Most High,
For you will go before the Lord to prepare His way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our Lord
The dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness
And the shadow of death,
And to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning.
is now, and will be forever.


The Akathist Hymn

The Sons of Chaldaea saw in the Virgin's hands the One whose hands had fashioned men: and acknowledging Him as the Master, although He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened to honor Him with their gifts and cried out to the Blessed One:

Hail, O Mother of the Star Without Setting!
Hail, O Radiance of the Mystical Day!
Hail, O you who quenched the flame of error!
Hail, O Light of those who search the Trinity!
Hail, O you who unthroned the Enemy of Men!
Hail, O you who showed forth Christ the Lord, Lover of Mankind!
Hail, O you who cleansed us from the stain of pagan worship!
Hail, O you who saved us from the mire of evil deeds!
Hail, O you who made cease the cult of fire!
Hail, O you who guide the faithful toward wisdom!
Hail, O you, Delight of all the Nations!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!


The Magi, become God-bearing heralds, returned to Babylon, conforming to your command, announcing You, the Christ, to all, and leaving Herod as a fool who did not know how to sing: "Alleluia!"

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!


Illuminating Egypt with the Light of Truth, you cast away the darkness of error. For the idols, unable to stand your might, fell down, and those who had been delivered from them cried out to the Mother of God:

Hail, O Resurrection of mankind!
Hail, O Downfall of the Demons!
Hail, O you who crushed the error of deceit!
Hail, O you who exposed the fraud of idols!
Hail, O Sea who drowned the symbolic Pharaon!
Hail, O Rock who quenched those who thirst for Life!
Hail, O Pillar of Fire who guided those in darkness!
Hail, O Shelter of the World, wider than the clouds!
Hail, O Food who took the place of Manna!
Hail, O Handmaid of holy delight!
Hail, O Land of the promised good!
Hail, O you who flow with milk and honey!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!


As Simeon was about to leave the present deceitful world, You were entrusted to him as an infant, but You made Yourself known to him as the perfect God. Wherefore he marveled at your wisdom beyond words, and cried out: "Alleluia!"

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

Friday, August 28, 2009

St. Augustine Quotes

“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”

"Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you"

" Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul."

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page"

" This is the very perfection of man is to find out his imperfections"

"There is something in humility that strangely exalts the heart"

St. Augustine on Faith

But you, beloved, who possess this faith, or who have begun now newly to have it, let it be nourished and increase in you. For as things temporal have come, so long before foretold, so will things eternal also come, which are promised. Nor let them deceive you, either the vain heathen, or the false Jews, or the deceitful heretics, or also within the Catholic (Church) itself evil Christians, enemies by so much the more hurtful, as they are the more within us. For, lest on this subject also the weak should be troubled, divine prophecy has not been silent, where in the Song of Songs the Bridegroom speaking unto the Bride, that is, Christ the Lord unto the Church, says, As a lily in the midst of thorns, so is my best Beloved in the midst of the daughters. He said not, in the midst of them that are without; but, in the midst of daughters. Whoso has ears to hear, let him hear: and while the net which is cast into the sea, and gathers together all kinds of fishes, as says the Holy Gospel, is being drawn unto the shore, that is, unto the end of the world, let him separate himself from the evil fishes, in heart, not in body; by changing evil habits, not by breaking sacred nets; lest they who now seem being approved to be mingled with the reprobate, find, not life, but punishment everlasting, when they shall begin on the shore to be separated.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Seminarians in Diocese of Baton Rouge

If you scroll to the last page of the Diocese of Baton Rouge Vocations Newsletter you can see the names of the young men on their journey to priesthood. Please pray for these young men. FYI:Please note if you click on the black rectangle with the smaller white rectangle located in the top right hand corner (actually just below this) you can toggle to full screen where you have an option of making the print larger and thus easier to read.
August 2009 Newsletter

Prayer, Persistence & Faith

St. Monica never gave up on her son St. Augustine and it is a blessing to many generations that she didn't. The lesson here for all of us is to never give up on someone you love. God's grace can find its way to even the darkest corners. If you know the story of Francis Thompson who wrote the great poem "the Hound of Heaven", he was as destitute as one could become, living in the streets, addicted to opium, yet He found God. How? Because God never stops pursuing you, never! Where do we begin? Prayer. Prayer is the foundation of trust in God. Even simple prayers are heard by God. Your prayers says to God, "I don't see you, nor hear you, nor perhaps even know you, but despite that I trust you." Prayer pleases God. He is the Abba, that Jesus describes to us. Pray for your children that they will find their way to God, because GOD WILL BE THERE! Be persistent, do not despair - that is what the Great Deceiver, the Evil One would like you to do. GOD'S LOVE IS UNFATHOMABLE! HIS MERCY KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES! Luke 18:1-17 The Parable of the Persistent Widow -Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always
pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Finally have faith that whatever God wills for you and your loved ones in the end will be good. Show Him how much faith you have.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Matters is Internal Not External

Jesus said "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing."
Sometimes we look at the Pharisees as this awful group of religious men, yet they were probably the most pious Jews of Jesus' time. What Jesus is in essence saying to them is that in this New Covenant what matters is not the external but the internal. Jesus is the "new Moses". Moses wanted the Jews to be recognized as outside of the pagan world, thus they were concerned with external things, he gave them the Law and showed them how to live. Jesus in the New Covenant proclaims a New Law, not to replace the Old Law but to fulfill it. What is important to us as Catholics living in the 21st century is that internally our hearts are united with the heart of Christ who lives within us. His two fold commandment of loving God and loving neighbor transcends what was the Old Law. The external things of our faith are important but are secondary to the internal things. St. Paul clearly understands this in his letter to the Corinthians the 13th Chapter when he proclaims "If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing." Jesus says "that, where your treasure is, so will your heart be " Treasure the perfect of Love which is Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Simplicity The Scribes and Pharisees Lacked

All the works of God are founded on unity, for they are founded on Himself, who is the most awfully simple and transcendent of possible unities. He is emphatically One; and whereas He is also multiform in His attributes and His acts, as they present themselves to our minds, it follows that order and harmony must be of His very essence. To be many and distinct in His attributes, yet, after all, to be but one,—to be sanctity, justice, truth, love, power, wisdom, to be at once each of these as fully as if He were nothing but it, as if the rest were not,—this implies in the Divine Nature an infinitely sovereign and utterly incomprehensible order, which is an attribute as wonderful as any, and the result of all the others. He is an infinite law, as well as an infinite power, wisdom, and love. Moreover, the very idea of order implies the idea of the subordinate. If order exists in the Divine Attributes, they must have relations one to another, and though each is perfect in itself, it must act so as not to impair the perfection of the rest, and must seem to yield to the rest on particular occasions. Thus God's power, indeed, is infinite, but it is still subordinate to His wisdom and His justice; His justice, again, is infinite, but it, too, is subordinate to His love; and His love, in turn, is infinite, but it is subordinate to His incommunicable sanctity. There is an understanding between attribute and attribute, so that one does not interfere with the other, for each is supreme in its own sphere; and thus an infinitude of infinities, acting each in its own order, are combined together in the infinitely simple unity of God. - Venerable John Henry Newman ( from the Magnificat - Meditation of the Day August 25, 2009)

Perfect Resignation

My God, I do not know what must come to me today.
But I am certain that nothing can happen to me
that you have not foreseen, decreed, and ordained from all eternity.
That is sufficient for me.
I adore your impenetrable and eternal designs,
to which I submit all my heart.
I desire, I accept them all, and I unite my sacrifice to that of Jesus Christ, my Divine Savior.
I ask in His name and through His infinite merits,
patience in my trials, and perfect and entire submission
to all that comes to me by your good pleasure.
--St. Joseph Pignatelli, SJ

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Akathist Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Second & Third Chant of the Beautiful Hymn to Mary


Trying to grasp the meaning of this mystery, the Virgin asked the holy messenger: "How is it possible that a son be born from a virginal womb? Tell me." And he answered her with awe, crying out in these words:

Hail, O hidden Sense of the Ineffable Plan!
Hail, O Belief in Silence That Must Be!
Hail, O Forecast of the Marvels of Christ!
Hail, O Fountainhead of truths concerning Him!
Hail, Celestial Ladder, by whom God came down!
Hail, O Bridge leading earthly ones to heaven!
Hail, O Wonder, ever-thrilling to the angels!
Hail, O Wound, ever-hurting to the demons!
Hail, O you who gave birth to Light ineffably!
Hail, O you who told no one how it was done!
Hail, O you who surpass the wisdom of the wise!
Hail, O you who enlighten faithful minds!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!


When the power of the Most High overshadowed the one who had never known the nuptial bed, her fruitful womb conceived, and she became for all a delicious field: for those who wished to reap salvation by singing "ALLELUIA!"

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!


Pregnant with God, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth, her unborn child rejoiced, immediately knowing her embrace. Bouncing and singing, he cried out to the Mother of God:

Hail, O Tendril whose Bud shall not wilt!
Hail, O Soil whose Fruit shall not perish!
Hail, O Tender of mankind's loving Tender!
Hail, O Gardener of the Gardener of Life!
Hail, O Earth who yielded abundant mercies!
Hail, O Table full-laden with appeasement!
Hail, for you have greened anew the pastures of delight!
Hail, for you have prepared a haven for the souls!
Hail, acceptable Incense of Prayer!
Hail, Expiation of the whole universe!
Hail, O you Favor of God to mortal men!
Hail, O you Trust of mortals before God!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!


Filled with a storm of contradictory thoughts, the wise Joseph was greatly disturbed: until then, he had seen you a virgin, and now he suspected you of secret guilt, all-blameless one! Learning that your conception was of the Holyl Spirit, he cried out: "Alleluia!"

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

St. Bartholomew the Apostle

The name "Bartholomew" appears in the New Testament only on lists of the names of The Twelve Apostles. This list normally is given as six pairs, and the third pair in each of the Synoptics is "Philip and Bartholomew "Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 16:14; and Acts 1:13.

The Gospel of John gives no list of the Twelve, but refers to more of them individually than the Synoptists. He does not name Bartholomew, but early in his account: The next day he decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter.Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth."But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him." Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this."And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

He tells of the call to discipleship of a Nathaniel who is often supposed to be the same person. The reasoning is as follows: John's Nathanael is introduced as one of the earliest followers of Jesus, and in terms which suggest that he became one of the Twelve. He is clearly not the same as Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Thomas, Judas Iscariot, Judas (not Iscariot, also called Lebbaeus or Thaddeus), all of whom John names separately. He is not Matthew, whose call is described differently (Matthew 9:9). This leaves Bartholomew, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes. Of these, Bartholomew is the leading candidate for two reasons:

(1) "Bar-tholomew" is a patronymic , meaning "son of Tolmai (or Talmai)." It is therefore likely that he had another name. (A historical novel which may not be well researched informs me that a first-century Jew would be likely to use the patronymic instead of the forename as a mark of respect in speaking to a significantly older Jew.) "Nathanael son of Tolmai" seems more likely than "Nathanael also called James (or Simon)."

(2) Nathanael is introduced in John's narrative as a friend of Philip. Since Bartholomew is paired with Philip on three of our four lists of Apostles, it seems likely that they were associated.

We have no certain information about Bartholomew's later life. Some writers, including the historian Eusebius of Caesarea (now Har Qesari, 32:30 N 34:54 E, near Sedot Yam), say that he preached in India. The majority tradition, with varying details, is that Bartholomew preached in Armenia, and was finally skinned alive and beheaded to Albanus or Albanopolis (now Derbent, 42:03 N 48:18 E) on theCaspian Sea. His emblem in art is a flaying knife. The flayed Bartholomew can be seen in Michelangelo's Sistine painting of the Last Judgment. He is holding his skin. The face on the skin is generally considered to be a self-portrait of Michelangelo.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Heart of Jesus - Gregorian

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord,
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

The Bread of Life Resides in You

Many murmur, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" If we approach Christianity from our own presuppositions we completely miss the fact, as Pope Benedict XVI writes, that "being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." We are to look beyond the saying to the Say-er. This is what it means to "be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ." "Decide today whom you will serve"- your own ideas and preconceptions, or "the Lord." Father Peter John Cameron, O.P.
The Divine is above any thing, idea, or experience of the earthly world. By this I mean, that in a moment in which one experiences something that is insightful, resulting in joy or discovery, or revelation or even greater, true love, one has begun to move upward towards the Divine. What was lost by Original Sin is in part being regained. That is what Jesus the Bread of Life brings to us. That is why the Eucharist was in the center of life for Padre Pio. He spent very early hours of the day or still night (he got up at 2.30 am) to get ready for his daily Mass and later the rest of the day was actually another preparation for a new Eucharist the next day. Once he said that the world could do without the Sun for a while but could not exist even a single day without the Holy Mass! Give thanks when you return to your pew that God has chosen to have Christ reside in you, making you an Ark, a Temple, the Holiest of Holys. Allow His Grace to permeate every fiber of your being so that in all you do, you do for the Greater Glory of God. Then every day you are living as Christ lives. Don't murmur, don't fall for the voices of the world, hear the voice of the one who John says "In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might have life through Him (The Eucharist). In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent his son for expiation for our sins.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Salve Regina Gregorian Chant

The Akathist Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary Eastern Catholic Devotion

To Our Blessed Lady, The Blessed Virgin, Mary Mother of Our Lord, Our True God, and Savior, Jesus Christ!

[PRIEST]: - Blessed is Our God, Always, Now and Forevermore. Amen

[CANTOR]: - O heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, You are everywhere present and fit all things. Treasury of Blessings,and Giver of Life, come and dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O Gracious One!

- Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal one, have mercy on us. (Three times)

[PRIEST]: - Blessed is Our God, Always, Now and Forevermore. Amen

[CANTOR]: - O heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, You are everywhere present and fit all things. Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life, come and dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O Gracious One!

- Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal one, have mercy on us. (Three times)

[During the Easter time, CHRIST IS RISEN is substituted for "Holy God," and sung three times]

- O Most Holy Trinity, Have Mercy on us! O Lord, Cleanse us of our sins! O Master, forgive our transgressions! O Holy One, come to us and heal our infirmities for your Name's sake!

- Lord, Have Mercy. (Three times)

- Glory be to the Father + and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever, Amen.

- Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, Father +, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen. - Let us pray to the Lord.

[Response]: Lord, have mercy!


[Priest or Cantor:] As soon as the angel had received his command, he hastened to Joseph's house and said to the ever-virgin: "Behold, heaven was brought down to earth when the Word Himself was fully contained in you! Now that I see Him in your womb, taking a servant's form, I cry out to you in wonder: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!"

First Chant

[PRIEST]: An Archangel was sent from heaven to greet the Mother of God, and as he saw you assuming a body at the sound of his bodiless voice, O Lord, he stood rapt in amazement and cried out to her in these words:

[The priest will sing the versicles, to each of which set the people will respond by singing "Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure" after each of the praises.]

Hail, O you, through whom Joy will shine forth!
Hail, O you, through whom the curse will disappear!
Hail, O Restoration of the Fallen Adam!
Hail, O Redemption of the Tears of Eve!
Hail, O Peak above the reach of human thought!
Hail, O Depth even beyond the sight of angels!
Hail, O you who have become a Kingly Throne!
Hail, O you who carry Him Who Carries All!
Hail, O Star who manifest the Sun!
Hail, O Womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Hail, O you through whom creation is renewed!
Hail, O you through whom the Creator becomes a Babe!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

KONTAKION (Priest or Cantor)

Knowing that she was a virgin, the blessed one courageously answered the angel: "Your surprising words seem hard for my mind to accept: how can you speak of a birth that is to come from a conception without seed? And why do you cry, Alleluia?"

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

The Akathistos hymn is the most famous Byzantine hymn to the Virgin Mary. Devotion to the Mother of God became central to the Identity of Constantinople in the sixth century, when she was taken as the protector of the city. This hymn expresses that devotion. This is only the first of the twelve chants. It is good to experience the beautiful liturgies of our Eastern brethren.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gregory Aymond Installed as 14th Archbishop of New Orleans

The Family Tree

Bishop Oddo Bernacchia †



14 Mar 1880
19 Sep 190323.5Ordained PriestPriest of Fano, Italy
24 Jun 192444.3AppointedBishop of Larino, Italy
5 Oct 192444.6Ordained BishopBishop of Larino, Italy
28 Oct 192444.6AppointedBishop of Termoli, Italy
196079.8RetiredBishop of Larino, Italy
19 Mar 196282.0RetiredBishop of Termoli, Italy
19 Mar 196282.0AppointedTitular Bishop of Sebela
13 Nov 196484.7DiedBishop Emeritus of Larino, Italy
  • a priest for 61.2 years
  • a bishop for 40.1 years
Episcopal Lineage / Apostolic Succession:

Pope St. Pius X

Pope St. Pius X (Latin: Pius PP. X) (June 2, 1835 -August 20,1914) born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was the 257th Pope serving from 1903 to 1914, succeeding Pope Leo XIII(1878–1903). He was the first pope since Pope Pius V (1566–72) to be canonized. Pius X codified Catholic doctrines to inspire conformity in the church and rejected modernism. His most important reform codified Church law in a central fashion. He was a pastoral pope, encouraging personal piety and a lifestyle reflecting Christian values. He was born in the pastoral town of Riese. Issued decrees on early Communion (age 7 instead of 12 or 14 as previously). Destroyed the last vestiges of Janenism by advocating frequent and even daily Communion Reformed the liturgy, promoted clear and simple homilies, and brought Gregorian chant back to services. Revised the Breviary, and teaching of the Catechism. Fought Modernism, which he denounced as “the summation of all heresies“. Reorganized the Roman curia, and the other administrative elements of the Church. Worked against the modern antagonism of the state against the Church. Initiated the codification of canon law. Promoting Bible reading by all the faithful. Supported foreign missions. His will read: “I was born poor; I lived poor; I wish to die poor.”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard one of the most illustrious Christian teachers and representatives of monasticism in the Middle Ages, was born at Fontaines, near Dijon, in Burgundy, in 1091. The son of a knight and vassal of the duke of Burgundy who perished in the first crusade, Bernard may have felt for a time the temptations of a military career, but the influence of a pious mother and his own inclinations towards a life of meditation and study led him to the cloister. While still a youth he is said to have been "marvelously cogitative" ("mire cogitativus," St Bern. Op., vol. ii. col. 1063), and the ascendancy of his mind and character were soon shown. He joined the small monastery of Citeaux in 1113 when twenty-two years of age, and such were the effects of his own devotion and eloquent enthusiasm in commending a religious life, that he drew after him not only his two younger brothers, but also his two elder ones, Guido and Gerard, both of whom had naturally taken to soldiering, and the elder of whom was married and had children. The effect of his preaching is said to have been that " mothers hid their sons, wives their husbands, companions their friends," lest they should be drawn away by his persuasive earnestness. (courtesy 1902 Encylopedia) He was recognized as an outstanding preacher and orator, and many of his sermons have been preserved and excerpted in Holy Liturgy.Throughout his life, Bernard remained a devoted servant of our Blessed Mother. He often admonished the Faithful to seek her protections, blessings and grace. Despite wishing to remain a humble Apostle of Christ, Bernard’s personality and vigor could at times arouse some of his contemporaries to question his humility. Never the less, Bernard arose with the same vigor to proclaim his love for Christ, and his work for God. The Benedictine philosophy and teachings were a constant in Bernard’s life. Because of this devotion, Bernard became a great confidant and friend of Suger, Abbot of St. Denis, home of the famous Benedictine Abbey near Paris.
In 1125 William, abbot of St. Thierry, asked Bernard to write something which would defend the Cistercians against the charge of slandering the Cluniacs and, at the same time, criticize Cluniac laxity. The result was the Apology, which begins by condemning self- righteous criticism and then proceeds to ridicule Cluniac excesses in food, clothing and buildings. Only the section on buildings is included here: "But these are minor abuses. I shall go on to major ones which seem minor because they are so common. I say nothing of the enormous height, extravagant length and unnecessary width of the churches, of their costly polishings and curious paintings which catch the worshipper's eye and dry up his devotion, things which seem to me in some sense a revival of ancient Jewish rites. Let these things pass, let us say they are all to the honor of God. Nevertheless, just as the pagan poet Persius inquired of his fellow pagans, so I as a monk ask my fellow monks: "Tell me, oh pontiffs," he said, "what is gold doing in the sanctuary?" I say (following his meaning rather than his metre): "Tell me, poor men, if you really are poor what is gold doing in the sanctuary?"

There is no comparison here between bishops and monks. We know that the bishops, debtors to both the wise and unwise, use material beauty to arouse the devotion of a carnal people because they cannot do so by spiritual means. But we who have now come out of that people, we who have left the precious and lovely things of the world for Christ, we who, in order to win Christ, have reckoned all beautiful, sweet-smelling, fine-sounding, smooth-feeling, good-tasting things-- in short, all bodily delights--as so much dung, what do we expect to get out of them? Admiration from the foolish? Offerings from the ignorant? Or, scattered as we are among the gentiles, are we learning their tricks and serving their idols?

I shall speak plainly: Isn't greed, a form of idolatry, responsible for all this? Aren't we seeking contributions rather than spiritual profit? "How?" you ask. "In a strange and wonderful way," I answer. Money is scattered about in such a way that it will multiply. It is spent so that it will increase. Pouring it out produces more of it. Faced with expensive but marvelous vanities, people are inspired to contribute rather than to pray. Thus riches attract riches and money produces more money. I don't know why, but the wealthier a place, the readier people are to contribute to it. Just feast their eyes on gold-covered relics and their purses will open. Just show them a beautiful picture of some saint. The brighter the colors, the saintlier he'll appear to them. Men rush to kiss and are invited to contribute. There is more admiration for beauty than veneration for sanctity. Thus churches are decorated, not simply with jeweled crowns, but with jeweled wheels illuminated as much by their precious stones as by their lamps. We see candelabra like big bronze trees, marvelously wrought, their gems glowing no less than their flames. What do you think is the purpose of such things? To gain the contrition of penitents or the admiration of spectators?

On vanity of vanities, yet no more vain than insane! The church is resplendent in her walls and wanting in her poor. She dresses her stones in gold and lets her sons go naked. The eyes of the rich are fed at the expense of the indigent. The curious find something to amuse them and the needy find nothing to sustain them.

What sort of reverence is shown to the saints when we place their pictures on the floor and then walk on them? Often someone spits in an angel's mouth. Often the face of a saint is trampled by some passerby's feet. If sacred images mean nothing to us, why don't we at least economize on the paint? Why embellish what we're about to befoul? Why decorate what we must walk upon? What good is it to have attractive pictures where they're usually stained with dirt?

Finally, what good are such things to poor men, to monks, to spiritual men? Perhaps the poet's question could be answered with words from the prophet: "Lord, I have loved the beauty of your house, and the place where your glory dwells" (Ps. 26:8). I agree. Let us allow this to be done in churches because, even if it is harmful to the vain and greedy, it is not such to the simple and devout. But in cloisters, where the brothers are reading, what is the point of this ridiculous monstrosity, this shapely misshapenness, this misshapen shapeliness? What is the point of those unclean apes, fierce lions, monstrous centaurs, half-men, striped tigers, fighting soldiers and hunters blowing their horns? In one place you see many bodies under a single head, in another several heads on a single body. Here on a quadruped we see the tail of a serpent. Over there on a fish we see the head of a quadruped. There we find a beast that is horse up front and goat behind, here another that is horned animal in front and horse behind. In short, so many and so marvelous are the various shapes surrounding us that it is more pleasant to read the marble than the books, and to spend the whole day marveling over these things rather than meditating on the law of God. Good Lord! If we aren't embarrassed by the silliness of it all, shouldn't we at least be disgusted by the expense? (Courtesy of Medivial Sourcebook) Much is owed to Bernard for fearlessly condemning some of his contemporaries who scorned the Sacrament of Marriage. He is to be given credit for the solid groundwork he laid for the future recognition of the sanctity of this Rite, both in the Church and Juris Prudence.On August 20, 1153, Bernard died after a period of great suffering. He is buried in his Monastery of Clairvaux, and his tomb is a shrine for the Faithful. He was named "Doctor of the Church" in 1830. The proclamation of his Canonization as a Saint took place on January 18, 1174.